Home Oxygen Therapy
Long-term home oxygen therapy is an important form of chronic therapy of patients with severe forms of heart and lung diseases suffering from permanent shortness of breath.
Diseases indicated for home oxygen therapy are mainly those associated with disruption of proper of blood oxygenation in the lungs. These include advanced forms of COPD and lung fibrosis and chronic heart disease manifesting with chronic heart failure.
The essence is a machine, which uses electricity to generate air with concentrated oxygen from water. The produced oxygen-rich air flows through a thin hose to a mask attached to patient face (or two tubes attached into patient's nostrils). Concentrated oxygen may cause irritation of the respiratory tract and therefore, the machine contains a special humidifier, which releases water vapor in the produced air. Modern types of the device are relatively quiet, being compared to refrigerators.
The procedure needs patient's strict cooperation. If it shall be effective, the treatment must last at least 16 hours a day (including sleep time). Therefore, the patient must spend two thirds of the day connected to the device. A little help is the length of connecting hose, which can be up to about 50 feet, ensuring relatively free movement around the apartment.
Advanced stage of many heart and lung diseases are virtually incurable and the administration of oxygen-rich air is the only way to ensure adequate oxygenation of patient's blood and provide them improved quality of life without chronic limiting dyspnea.